31 May 2007 | Halifax
They' re off! Aisling I's crew cast off the docklines from the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron at 1115 this morning- approximately 22 hours later than planned but with everything shipshape and the crew in high spirits. Although the original departure had been planned for 1300 yesterday, Herb Hilgenberg (the weather advisor) suggested a delay due to unfavourable winds- for which I was immeasurably grateful since we really need the extra day to finalize the preparations. Just loading and stowing the provisions was a daunting task- but miraculously, a place for everything was found (although we seem to have misplaced our water line in the process!).
An enthusiastic group of well-wishers watched them "sail" away- under motor since the winds were light. The crew will work a watch schedule of three hours on, four and a half hours off, with staggered shifts of one and a half hours within each watch (meaning that each person will have a change of watch partner mid-way through each watch). This schedule should allow the crew to stay well-rested- an essential consideration for a passage that will take two weeks or more to complete.
I will post the provision list, menu and watch schedule for those who are interested in the details. We catalogued the locations of each item against a locker map to avoid the frustrations of endless searches for necessary items (a scenario that happened on a regular basis during our passage to Bermuda and that we were determined not to repeat!).
It's a bit quiet here at home now...but lots to do in preparation for our lengthy absence. I hope to hear from Rick through satellite phone and email on a daily basis, and will try to update their position regularly until I depart for the Azores on June 15th.